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Current, Part 3
Navigating the Waters of Today’s Same-Sex Culture
Bruce A. Hess
Now, today we are going to be concluding a three-part message series that we have entitled, “Current, Navigating the Waters of Today’s Same-Sex Culture.” As we have been saying all along, this is really one message that is given over three weeks. So, if it is your first time to be here today, just realize that this is the last part of the message and you have missed the first two parts. If you have missed any of the elements before this, we would encourage you to go to our website at wildwoodchurch.org and you can click on either the audio links or the video links for our messages in this series.
As we conclude today, I want to actually direct our attention for just a moment to our graphic that is up there that we have been using for his series. I want you to know that, that graphic was very carefully chosen. There is some symbolism there that we thought was important. You will notice there is a group of seven people in the raft and they are somewhat representative of our church family or your family. Then you will notice that everyone there that is in the raft, is alert and aware that they are in the middle of a strong current. They are not sleeping; they are very tuned in to what is happening. Also, I want you to notice in that graphic, there is a guy in a hat and he is pointing the way. He is a picture of how God’s truth is our guide as we navigate the waters of today’s same-sex culture. You will also notice there is a gal in the rear, with an oar, and she is steering, just a picture of how we are to be leading our families as we navigate this strong current in our day. Then, lastly, I want you to notice that they are in a life raft. They are not on the shoreline watching the current carry people away. They are involved in having a mindset, I think.
We need to have a mindset that we are open, as this strong current is happening in our culture, to rescuing people who may be struggling in the current. We want to have a mindset that we are ready to extend the gospel of grace to people.
Remember, we stated from the beginning that our aim is to reflect the heart of Christ. Jesus is described as one who was full of grace and truth. So, we have been saying that our desire, as a church, is to be what? Full of grace and truth. Last week we looked at an awful lot of truth. We looked at a lot of the primary passages that address the issue of homosexuality in the Bible. If you didn’t get that information, please go back and retrieve all of that, listen to that, or view that.
Briefly, what I want to do today is, look at one more passage of Scripture that is often used to imply that Jesus was very positive towards homosexual behavior. A number of years ago I went to Anchorage, Alaska to speak at a Weekend to Remember Marriage Getaway there and some people asked me if I would make an appearance on secular radio there on KUDO radio, in Anchorage. So, I went there. Basically the idea was, we were promoting marriage and the Weekend to Remember but, as I was on this secular station, you can imagine the topic soon went to same-sex marriage and we actually took phone calls from people regarding this topic. One person called in and said, ‘Hey, do you realize that Jesus talked about homosexuality in the New Testament, in Matthew, chapter 19 and verse 12?’ So, he over the air, proceeded to read this verse to me. Remember, Jesus is discussing here, in chapter 19, marriage, but let’s just read what it says in verse 12.
“For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”
This is what the caller said, ‘Do you not know that the term ‘eunuch’ was a term that was used to describe, in that day, homosexuals? The idea here is, that this implies Jesus’ approval of homosexuality. He says that some were born that way and we should accept it.’
That is how the phone call came in. How did I respond to that? Well, I said, ‘Sir, I am sorry, but you are mistaken. This term, eunuch, was not used to describe people who were homosexuals, practicing homosexuals. In fact, the term, eunuch, refers to someone who was incapable of the marriage act, incapable of performing sexually, incapable of begetting children. In the ancient world there were often men assigned to serve the royal family, especially the queen and her court. In fact, we have one of these gentlemen mentioned in the book of Acts, in chapter 8, the Ethiopian eunuch. What they would do in that day, often, is, they would take a male, who was going to serve the queen and her court, all the females, and they would frequently castrate them. Therefore, they would be less of a threat to the women. That is what a eunuch was.
So, the Lord Jesus, basically says here, there are three kinds of eunuchs. Number one, there are eunuchs who are born that way. In other words, when they were born, they were impotent due to genetic defects. Secondly, He says, there are eunuchs who were made by men. That means they were either castrated by other people or they were self-castrated. Then, thirdly, He says there are eunuchs, who are eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. In other words, Jesus said, there are certain individuals who choose celibacy in order to serve God more effectively, to serve God and the kingdom. Jesus was an example of one of those males. John the Baptist was an example of one of those males. The apostle Paul was an example of one of those kinds of individuals.
This passage has nothing to do with homosexual practice, at all. In fact, it is interesting, there are some thirty-one thousand plus verses in the Bible and not one of them provides a positive perspective on homosexual practice. In fact, in Scripture, every passage that affirms sexuality, affirms sexuality between a man and a woman.
Today we are going to be wrapping up our study and I want to give you today’s plan. Today, in our time together, we are going to do three things. First of all, we are going to look at some questions. In fact, we are going to look at three questions. Then, secondly, we are going to look at some perils, things that are awaiting us downstream. We are going to look at two of those. Then, thirdly, we are going to look at some responses. How are we to respond? How should we then live, in light of everything we have been covering? We are going to look at three responses that we can have to the same-sex culture of our today. It is going to be a great time. Are you ready to go?
Let’s start off by looking at some questions. Here is the first question: Isn’t homosexuality inborn? Isn’t it like your eye color or your race? Aren’t you just born with it? The idea behind that question is, if it is genetic, if I am born this way, then it really can’t be immoral. It must be affirmed. In fact, Mel White said this, ‘If homosexuality is inborn, it is a gift from God to be embraced and celebrated and lived with integrity.’
I don’t have to tell most of you that I am not a genetic scientist. I am not. But I have done a lot of reading and research and I can tell you this, being born a homosexual has not been proven by the scientific community to be a genetic thing at all. In fact, the number one most frequently cited study is a study by a man by the name of Simon Levay, who did his study in 1991. What Simon Lavay did is, after certain males had died, he thought some of these people were probably homosexual and some of them were probably heterosexual so, he was measuring the size of their brains. He found out there was a variation in the size of brains. Then, some jumped to the conclusion, based on this study, that homosexuality is inborn, we found genetic evidence of it. But that is not the case. In fact, three years after the study, this is what Simon Lavay said about his own study, he said, ‘It is important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality was genetic or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, which is the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work.’
This has not been proven to be something that is genetic, that we are born this way. In fact, lesbian author, Dr. Camille Paglia said this, ‘Homosexuality is not normal.’ Now, she is a practicing homosexual, herself. She says, ‘It is not normal, no one is born gay. The idea is ridiculous. Homosexuality is an adaptation, not an inborn trait.’
Then, I also want to quote psychiatrist Nathaniel S. Lehrman, who is the formal chairperson of the task force on religion and mental health. This is what he says, ‘Researchers now openly admit that, after searching for more than twenty years, they are still unable to find the (quote) “gay gene.’
It has not been proven that this is a genetic thing. But, let me say this, even if some day a genetic link is verified, that does not make homosexual behavior morally right. See, it is possible that we can be born with a genetic predisposition to something but, that doesn’t mean we should act on it.
For example, in the arena of alcoholism, now they can identify a particular gene in 77% of the cases that they believe indicates a predisposition to alcoholism. 77% of the cases, but that doesn’t justify alcoholic behavior. Just because we have some inborn tendencies doesn’t mean some of our behavior is acceptable. Predisposition does not mean predestination.
We have said this before but, all of us, every single one of us, me, you, all of us, have been born into sin. Part of that, theologically, means that we have experienced total depravity. What that means is, every dimension of our being has been tainted by sin. I have been tainted by sin in every dimension of my life but it would be wrong to assume, because I have been born with that, that God ordains and approves my sinful behavior. You see, some of us, any of us, may be predisposed, we may have a certain tendency to anger, we may have a tendency towards violence, we may have a tendency towards greed, we may have a tendency towards lust, but that doesn’t justify our acting out on that.
Is homosexuality inborn? I don’t think it is at all, no proof of that.
You might say, ‘What are the causes, how does someone get to where they have these same-sex attractions?’ I will say this, the tendencies towards same-sex attraction often happen at a very young, early age. Again, the whole reason of what causes this is very complex. I am not an expert. I am going to be sharing with you on the resource sheet we will make available to you, a whole lot more information and data on this. You can get a lot more information on all of that. But I will share with you some of the factors that other people have shared with me, some of the people that I have known, who have same-sex attraction and from some of the stories that I have read and heard about.
Here are some of the factors that can lead people to think that they were born gay. One is, emotional brokenness. In other words, very early in their life, they experience some emotional brokenness, they have a very low same-sex gender esteem. In other words, they feel different. A little boy feels very different from the other little boys. A little girl feels very different from the other little girls. Because they feel different, they often end up being ostracized by their same sex. Maybe you have a young male, who is very sensitive or he is very artistic and the other boys aren’t very sensitive and they are more into the sports thing and he doesn’t really fit in. Maybe he is not athletic and all the other boys seem to be interested in athletics, he is interested in other things.
Or, maybe you have a girl who is very athletic and all the other little girls seem to be interested in playing house and so forth. So, they feel a little disassociated from their same sex. Then, later on, they find themselves being attracted to their same sex. Emotional brokenness can figure into it.
Another thing that will figure into it, that can be a cause, can be sexual exploitation, where someone of the same sex exploited them at a younger age, sexually.
Or, there can be just sexual experimentation at a young age, where they have a sexual experience with someone of the same sex and they found that kind of exciting so they get confused and they think, ‘Maybe I am actually gay.’
I just want you to know, when you rattle off some of these things, my heart hurts. My heart hurts for people who go through emotional brokenness, especially at a young age, who experience sexual exploitation and even sexual experimentation.
So, we have dealt with one question, let’s deal with a second question. Here’s the second question, isn’t homosexuality unchangeable?
If you cannot change it, how can anyone judge it as wrong? I take us back to the first week when we looked at 1 Corinthians, chapter 6, verse 11. Remember there was a list of some sinful behavior and one of those elements in the list was homosexual behavior and then Paul says to those believers in Corinth, “Such were some of you.” He is saying, ‘Yes, you had displayed some of these behaviors in your life, but when you came to know Jesus Christ, you were changed, there was victory. God is in the transformation business.’
Let’s go back and think about that for a moment. There are multiple kinds of sinful behavior in the list, but let’s just focus on someone who is a homosexual, a practicing homosexual. He says to them, “Such were some of you.” What was he really saying? Is he saying, ‘Hey, those of you who used to be gay, you’re not gay anymore? In fact, you’re probably all happily married to the opposite sex now.’ Is he saying that? Possibly. It is likely that some of them, who had been gay, and they had come to Christ and experienced Jesus’ transformation in their life, had likely gone on and married the opposite sex. I have a friend, that I have known for a number of years, who had very deep same-sex attraction issues, and God got ahold of his heart and God worked on his heart and eventually he saw that he had some attraction for the opposite sex and he got married and he has been married. He has been on the mission field for a number of years, serving Jesus Christ.
When he said, “Such were some of you,” it is likely that some of them had actually gotten married to the opposite sex, but it is also likely that some of them didn’t see their same-sex attractions abating or diminishing. So, they made a choice not to move into homosexual behavior, which is where sin comes in, but instead, to practice and live a life of chastity and purity. I have another friend, that I have known for more than thirty years, and in his situation, as Jesus Christ invaded his life, he never had an emergence of opposite sex attraction. So, he made the choice in his life to live a life of chastity, which he has done now for multiple decades.
When he says, “Such were some of you,” I think what he is not saying is, that for all of them same-sex attraction vanished immediately. What he is saying is, that all of you are not practicing homosexuals anymore and you’ve had victory in your life.
One of my favorite authors is a guy by the name of Joe Dallas. Joe Dallas, himself, is a former homosexual. He wrote a book entitled, The Gay Gospel. Part of what he does in the book is, he dialogues with common pro-gay arguments and then he has a response back. Here is part of what he wrote in that book, here is a common pro-gay argument, it goes like this,
‘Well, I don’t believe God wants me to deny something I’ve had all my life, something I’ve tried to change. That just doesn’t sound like God to me.’
The response that Joe Dallas writes is this, ‘Well, that is funny, it sounds exactly like God to me. It sounds like He requires of you the same thing He requires of all of us, He asks us to deny something we’ve had all our lives, ourselves, and take up our crosses daily to follow Him. He knows we’ve tried to change ourselves and He knows we can’t, but Jesus never said we had to change ourselves. He told us to follow Him and to live obediently. The inward change is up to Him.’ With God predisposition is not predestination.
So, we’ve dealt with the question: isn’t homosexuality inborn? We’ve dealt with the question: isn’t it unchangeable? That leads us to a third question and that is this: is this really important? I mean, shouldn’t we just leave people with same-sex attraction alone? Is this really that important? Shouldn’t they have the same rights that we have? Shouldn’t they have the civil right to marriage?
I want to point out a few things that I think are pretty important, same-sex marriage laws aside. Those who are same-sex attracted already have the right to co-habit with someone of the same sex. They already have the right to be a parent. Now, there are some relationship rights that they don’t have, but those relationship rights could actually be legally changed. In other words, we could change the laws of the land where you have same-sex couples who have been committed to one another for a while, we could change the law that would qualify each one for one another’s social security benefits. We could change the law in that way. We could change the law regarding their medical rights and being able to serve one another. We could change that law. We could do all of that without de-constructing marriage. We don’t need to de-construct marriage to get that done.
So, when we ask the question: is it really that important? There are a couple of parts to the answer. I think the answer is, yes, it is very important. Part of the reason why it is important is, God has addressed, as we have seen in the Bible, homosexual behavior. He is the creator, He is God, He is the judge and one day everybody is going to stand before Him. So, we need to reflect what He reflects about that kind of behavior.
There is a second part to the question: is this really important? That leads us into the element of looking at the perils. What is awaiting us downstream? We are going to look at two of them, regarding what is ahead for us as a culture, downstream.
Peril number one, this is part of that very difficult water hole that is awaiting us, what I call the revolution stage three. You’re asking, ‘What in the world are you talking about? The revolution stage three?’ What we are going to do, men and women, for a few moments is, we want to rewind several decades back. We want to talk about the revolution. Meaning, in essence, the sexual revolution in our culture.
Stage number one of this revolution was the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. That is my generation. We had certain values that related to marriage in the 60’s, but because we wanted to get free of all the restrictions, we began to break those rules, particularly as they related to sex and marriage. We have paid the price as a culture. I am not proud of my generation. Did you know, that in 1964, in the United States of America, 6% of children were born out of wedlock, outside of marriage? In 2010, 41%, nearing 50% of children are born outside of marriage. And, the sexual revolution of the 60’s, men and women, has greatly undermined marriage in our culture. That is stage one.
Stage two of the revolution is what we are right in the middle of, and have been for a while, and that is the homosexual revolution. A big part of what the homosexual revolution is wanting to do is, to build on the revolution of the 60’s and that is to finish off breaking the egg of marriage. You know, to break the egg of marriage, to break the classic understanding of marriage between a male and a female, the understanding that has been true for all of the centuries of human life and all of multiple cultures, wherever they may be. Here is what is interesting about that, once the egg of marriage is fully broken, all will be scrambled. Once we break the egg of marriage and it is no longer a marriage between a male and a female, it just means everything is going to get scrambled, which really is the next stage, which is what I’ve called stage three of the revolution.
The next stage of the sexual revolution is summarized by a word called polyamory. You may or may not have heard that term. The word, ‘poly,’ means ‘many’ and ‘amory’ refers to ‘love.’ The next stage that is coming downstream very quickly, you can already see it in our view, is this idea of polyamory. Multiple people in the same sexual relationship. Three, four, five, six people. You might be sitting there thinking, ‘Oh, really? I mean, come on. Don’t be ridiculous!’ Listen, men and women, this stage has already unfolded in front of us. Newsweek magazine, in 2009, published an article entitled, ‘Polyamory, the Next Sexual Revolution.’ See, they recognize what is happening. There is already a book on polyamory that has been printed called, New Love Without Limits. It is by Deborah Anapol. There is a magazine that is published on a regular basis in our country on polyamory. It is entitled Loving More. We’ve already seen this come into our living rooms through the television. We have programs like Sister Wives. We have programs like Big Love. I do not get Showtime, but I am aware that on Showtime there is actually a program entitled Polyamory, Married and Dating. It is just a hodge podge of multiple relationships, sort of in one environment, one home. A hodge podge of bi-sexuality going every which direction.
There are prophets out there today in the form of college professors who are promoting polyamory, even as I speak. There are college professors at the University of Michigan, at New York University, at Cornell University, at USC, at Columbia University, and multiple other universities, and they are actively promoting, among the college students, this idea of polyamory. You see, men and women, you break the egg of marriage and everything gets scrambled.
In 2012, there was a professor at Columbia University by the name of, David Epstein. David is 46 years old and he was charged with incest, because he had been involved in a three-year consensual, sexual relationship with his 24-year-old daughter. So, you have a 46-year-old professor who has been involved in a three-year consensual relationship with his 24-year-old daughter and he gets charged with incest. His attorney, as part of David Epstein’s defense, said this, ‘If it is okay for homosexuals to do whatever they want, how is this any different?’
This is the stage that is awaiting us. In fact, do you know that now there are a lot of voices saying, ‘Hey, the whole idea of male and female, it is just outdated. We need to abolish it.’ We have, in several states, a push to eliminate the male/female line on birth certificates. I mean, who are we to say that somebody’s male and somebody’s female? You see, the current, in our culture is hurdling us ahead. One of the perils is this stage three of the sexual revolution, the polyamory.
I want to talk about a second peril that is awaiting us downstream and that is this, the loss of freedom. The loss of freedom. This has already happened in places around the world. In Sweden, they passed a number of laws and a pastor by the name of, Ake Green, was arrested in his own church for quoting, from the pulpit, some of the same verses that I went over last week. He got arrested for that, because that was illegal to do. It may be coming down the road that it will be illegal here. It may very well be that I spend some time in the Cleveland County jail because I have taken the opportunity to talk about what the word of God has to say. In Canada, the law is already there, that if you make critical statements about people who are homosexuals, you will receive a hefty financial fine and be sent to prison.
So, we are just trying to understand what is happening in our culture. We’ve dealt with some questions; we’ve dealt with some of the perils that are awaiting us downstream. But what is most important to me, and this is what I like to know is, what should I do? How are we supposed to live, given where we are right now? So, we want to talk about three responses we are to have to the same-sex culture of our day.
Here is the very first response we ought to have: we need to pray! Put an exclamation point behind that. We need to pray! We need to pray for ourselves, that God would be working in us. We need to pray for those who are same-sex attracted. We need to pray for our government leaders. We need to pray for God’s spirit to work in our day, in our time, in our culture. We need to pray! How much are we praying about this? We need to pray! When we pray, it unleashes the power of God to work. So, the first response we should have is to pray.
The second response, in light of the same-sex culture current of our day is: we need to honor marriage. We need to honor marriage. Did you know that we are called up, in the New Testament to do that? In Hebrews, chapter 13, verse 4, to the believing community this statement is made by the author, to the Hebrews, “Let marriage be held in honor among all.” It is talking to the believing community. “Let marriage be held in honor.” Let marriage be valued. Let marriage be guarded. I am a practical guy, if that is the directive, let marriage be held in honor, how do we do that? Well, first of all, we do that by how we live.
In the next few moments together, I want you to know, I am going to be very direct. It is a directness that comes out of love in my heart, but I am going to be very direct. If we are going to hold marriage in honor among all in the believing community, how do we that? By how we live. You know what that really means? That means, especially young people, but people of all ages, stop living together before marriage! That is what it means. It means that we practice purity outside of marriage. How do we do this? It’s by how we live. It means that those of us who are married need to be committed to be faithful to our marriage vows, so far as it depends on you. I know sometimes, someone else can break that, but if we are going to hold marriage in honor before all, we need to be faithful to our marriage vows.
It means we need to make right choices. Right choices as a husband, right choices as a wife, right choices as a parent. That is the way we hold marriage in honor before everybody. We do it by how we live.
It means that we must jettison the toxic waste of pornography from our relationships. That is what pornography is, it is toxic waste to our relationships. We do it by how we live.
If you are struggling in your marriage relationship and we all do at some level, do you just keep that quiet? ‘Oh, I hope it somehow works out.’ No, don’t do that. Share your struggle with someone who is a godly example to you. Let them know, we’re struggling, we need help. Take advantage of all the resources that are available on the whole subject matter of marriage and relationships. We have more material available to us than anyone in the history of the world has ever had. Take advantage of those things.
Peter says this in 1 Peter 2:11, to the believing community, he says, “Abstain from fleshly lust which wage war against the soul.” We need to hold marriage in honor. We need to value it and we need to guard it.
So, how do we honor marriage? Well, first of all, by how we live and secondly, this is very important, by speaking up. There are a lot of states that are putting forth domas, the defense of marriage acts. We need to support those things. The believing community needs to support that. We need to champion God’s design for marriage. If not us, who is it going to be? “Let marriage be held in honor among all.”
The first thing, the first response is to pray. The second response is to honor marriage. The third one, which is very, very important when it comes to the same-sex community is, that we need to reach out, relationally to them. Not every church and not every Christian community is doing that. I read about a town where a large gay camping resort opened up. By the way, do you know where the largest gay resort, in the Southwest United States, is located? Anybody know? Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. But, in this particular situation, there was a large gay camping resort that opened up in the community. How were they going to respond to that? Well, what a number of people in that church did is, they decided to go out and purchase some land that was right next to the resort and then they promptly stocked the entire land with hogs. They created a hog farm with its accompanying stench and the idea was to send a public statement about what they felt about homosexuality to the people who were at that gay resort. That is not the way to reach people for Christ. We need to reach out relationally to them.
I want to reject something. It is a false notion, that seems to exist in some of the Christian community, that the only way that we can show compassion to people who are in the gay movement is to affirm their choices. I reject that notion. You see, Jesus built relationship with people who were marginalized. Jesus built relationships with people who were social societal rejects, with tax collectors, with working women in the sex trade, Jesus did all that without affirming their choices. So, we need to reach out relationally.
You might remember, a little while ago, that Dan Cathy, who is the CEO of Chick-fil-A [a national restaurant specializing in chicken sandwiches, owned by committed Christians], made a statement that caused a huge reaction. Do you remember this? In June of 2012, he inadvertently started a national controversy because he made this statement on the side and it was picked up. The statement he made is that God is the one who defines marriage. Do you remember this? That just sprung these incredible protests and attacks on Chick-fil-A and calls for a boycott of Chick-fil-A. One of the ones leading that parade was a young man by the name of Shane Windmeyer, who is a LGBT leader. He is the founder of Campus Pride, the national LGBT college student organization. Shane Windmeyer launched a national campaign against Chick-fil-A.
Now, if you are Dan Cathy, how do you respond to that? Well, you know what he did? He reached out relationally to Shane Windmeyer. Dan Cathy called him and they spoke, initially, over the phone, for an hour. And, Dan listened intently to all of Shane’s concerns. What is really interesting is, that phone call led to Dan and Shane becoming friends. Dan invited Shane to be his honored guest at the Chick-fil-A Bowl [a special post season college football game], which eventually led to Shane writing an article entitled, Dan and Me, My Coming Out as a Friend of Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A. In that article, he described this friendship that they had developed and formed. He wrote this,
“Dan expressed a sincere interest in my life, wanting to get to know me on a personal level. He wanted to know about where I grew up, my faith, my family and even my husband, Tommy. In return, I learned about his wife and kids and gained an appreciation for his devout belief in Jesus Christ and his commitment to being a follower of Christ.”
Men and women, that is the spirit in which we must reach out relationally. Again, I am real practical. You say, ‘Okay, I am supposed to reach out relationally. How do I get started in this? How do I do that? I have some friends who are same-sex attracted. I may have some family members. How do we do this?’ Well, we extend authentic interest to them. Here’s a key word…listen. Ask them to share about their life. Ask them to share about their story. Ask them to share how they developed in their whole perspective and how they got to where they are today. Seek to hear their heart. Then, we have an opportunity to share the love and the grace and the hope that we have found in the person of Jesus.
Michael Brown is a very effective author in seeking to hold marriage in honor and he has interacted a lot with the LGBT community. He made this statement to them, I want to read part of it to you, here is what he says to those who are LBGT,
“We understand, of course, that in your eyes our Biblical convictions may feel like hate. And, it is hurtful to us that you feel that way. The fact is, we really do love you, more than you realize or understand and because we love you, we will continue to speak the truth, convinced that it is the truth that sets us free. Love does what is right, even when it is scorned and mocked and ridiculed. So, we will not stop loving you, even if you call us bigots, even if you claim that we are depriving you of your civil rights, even if you mock us and call us Bible bashers. We will pray for you and reach out to you, whether you understand it or not, we are here to help. We do not look down on you or despise you, since for us, the ultimate issue is not homosexuality or heterosexuality, all human beings fall short of God’s standards in many ways and all of us heterosexuals and homosexual alike, need God’s mercy through the blood of Jesus. All of us need forgiveness and all of us need to turn from our sins and ask God for grace to lead a holy and virtuous life.”
We need to reach out relationally. We need to utilize the show and tell approach. Do you remember the show and tell approach that we had in elementary school? First, we show them that we care. We listen, we pray for them. We let them know we are praying for them. We forge a friendship with them. Then the tell part, where we share what Jesus has done in our own life.
If you are same-sex attraction and you have those experiences in your life, I am glad that you are here. I want you to know that I would love to hear your story. Come talk to me, send me an email.
We’ve mentioned it several times, that we have put together a resource sheet, navigating today’s same-sex culture resources. We have a whole list of them here and we have some of these printed out that are available on the table in the hallway. You are welcome to take one these, but also, and this is maybe even more important, we have this available on our webpage at wildwoodchurch.org/current or you can just click on the series graphic and it will come up, we have a Word document plus a link to an electronic copy. The reason why that is helpful is, we have links to a number of websites and some of the links are rather long so it is a little tedious to copy off the sheet, but they will be live links on the webpage. This sheet will be very helpful. There are books here on what to do if you have a family member or co-worker or friend who is dealing with homosexuality. There is a local counseling resource mentioned here. There are helpful websites that are listed here. There are video testimonies of dozens of people who found victory in Christ from homosexuality. Also, we have some written testimonies of victories in Christ. We have books that deal with the Bible and homosexuality. All of the verses that are being used and answers to all of those, plus we have some additional links. So, we encourage you to take advantage of this resource sheet. This is what helps us equip ourselves to reach out relationally to people. We understand the issues, we have the information. So, so important.
I want to say this, as we close today, the message of salvation is the same for all of us. Isaiah 55:6-7 it says this, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and (the LORD) He will have compassion on him…for He will abundantly pardon.”
No matter what your life experience is, if you do not know Jesus Christ personally, I want to say, Jesus loves you. Jesus died for you. He took your punishment and my punishment on the cross and He desires to transform your heart and life. We do that by having faith and trust of what Jesus Christ did on the cross.
I am going to invite the worship team to come now and we are going to sing a closing song. We are going to be celebrating something that is so very important. No matter what the sin story may be in our life, we are going to sing words that say that our God is greater, our God is stronger, our God is higher than any other and He is awesome in His transforming power.
Let’s pray together, then we will sing. Father, we just thank You so much for this series, that we’ve been able to tackle this subject matter of this incredible, current culture situation that we are experiencing. Father, I would pray for anyone who doesn’t know Jesus Christ, no matter what their story may be, that they would remember the words of Jesus when He said, “The one who comes to me, I will never drive away.” I think of the words in Jeremiah, chapter 6, verse 16 that says this, to us as human beings, “Stop right where you are, look for the old, godly way and walk in it. Travel its path and you will find rest for your souls.” Amen.
Questions for Reflection
“Current” Series, Part 3
We mentioned Matthew 19:12 is a passage used by some to demonstrate that Jesus/the Bible approves of homosexuality. Make a list of any other passages or bible stories you’ve seen used in this way.
Why do you think many believers are so reluctant to engage both those who may be same sex attracted and even those who are openly pursuing a homosexual lifestyle?
Using a “Show and Tell” approach in relating to folks who experience same sex attraction, what practical ways can we communicate that we love and care for them? List as many as you can.
“Predisposition does not mean predestination.” Explain what that means to someone facing same sex attraction issues.
Hebrews 13:4 declares, “Let marriage be held in honor among all.”
Practically, what does this mean for Christ-followers? How can we value and guard marriage? Be specific.
Is it truly important for Christ followers to speak up defending the classic definition of marriage as designed by God? Why or why not?
Some in the today’s millennial generation feel that their specific calling in American’s quest toward “freedom for all” entails fighting for homosexual civil rights in the arena of marriage. How could we/should we respond to this notion?
If one of the perils awaiting us downstream in today’s same-sex current is the potential loss of freedom…what ramifications will this have for the local church? How can we be best prepared individually and as a church?
Be sure to take full advantage of the Resource Sheet info to further equip us to better understand and minister to those who battle same sex attraction issues (wildwoodchurch.org/current). There is hope for victory!
Navigating Today’s Same Sex Culture
(an electronic version of this with active links is available at wildwoodchurch.org/current)
Books — General
If you have a family member, co-worker or friend:
When Homosexuality Hits Home – Joe Dallas
Male with same sex attraction issues:
Desires in Conflict – Joe Dallas
You Don’t Have to be Gay – Jeff Konrad (used on Amazon)
(a series of letters between friends…good understanding & help)
Female with same sex attraction issues:
Restoring Sexual Identity – Anne Paulk
Local Counseling Resource
First Stone Ministries, Oklahoma City, OK (405) 236-4673
Helpful Web Sites
Living Hope Ministries www.livehope.org
Genesis Counseling www.joedallas.com
One by One www.oneby1.org
Desert Stream Ministries www.desertstream.org
NARTH (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality)
Clinical level help www.narth.com
Video Testimonies of victory in Christ
Personal video stories of some who’ve found hope for lesbianism
Personal video stories of males who’ve found freedom in Christ
Hope filled real life stories
Written Testimonies of Victory in Christ
Stephen Black’s story (President of First Stone, OKC) http://firststone.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=328:he-sent-his-word-to-heal-us&catid=23:men-a-homosexuality&Itemid=35
Mike Haley’s story
Dennis Jernigan’s story
Books — on The Bible and Homosexuality
Excellent eBook response to Matthew Vines’ book God and the Gay Christian
The Gay Gospel: How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible – Joe Dallas (a great place to start)
Can You Be Gay and Christian? – Michael L. Brown (more detailed)
The Bible and Homosexual Practice – Robert A. J. Gagnon (most detailed)
Common questions on same-sex issues
A series of audio links addressing questions related to hope for homosexuals
Finding freedom from habitual sin:
http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/ Bruce A. Hess